During an exclusive preview event in California Car Enthusiast was among the first in the world to see the new F10 series M5 fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox ahead of its US introduction.
The manual option will only be available in North America and Canada, as, despite the UK being big fans of the brand's M cars, the total number sold here is minute compared to the US. Over there the firm expects only 1 in 100 customers to choose the no-cost self-shift option, but the sheer size of the market means it still makes business sense to offer it.
The car we sat in was the USA arm's development model, which had already covered 6,000 miles. Although we couldn't test the car out on the road the shift action has been developed specifically for this car, offering a short and precise movement between cogs. The manual M5 will take one tenth of a second longer to reach 62mph (due to the loss of launch control) so bar room braggers best stick with the excellent seven-speed DCT automatic.
Graeme Lambert - 30 May 2012